Monday, 29 September 2014

Why the wealthy should pay their taxes like the rest of us.

The UK is one of the most unequal countries amongst wealthy nations when looking at household income. Should we be worried? There is evidence that less equal societies have higher rates of violence and ill health.

But the wealthiest may believe they are protected against the effects of inequality. Not so.There is abundant evidence that reducing inequality improves the quality of the social environment for everyone. (The Spirit Level Chapter 2)

Inequality increases mental illness, clinical obesity, violence including murder and rates of imprisonment not just amongst the poor but across the population as a whole (The Spirit Level, Chapter 13)

If we halved inequality in the UK, the evidence suggests that:

- Murder rates could halve
- Mental illness could reduce by two thirds
- Obesity could halve
- Imprisonment could reduce by 80%
- Teen births could reduce by 80%
- Levels of trust could increase by 85%

 Comparisons show that in less equal countries like England and Wales death rates of working age men are worse than in more equal countries such as Sweden – including amongst those of high social class such as professionals 

Similarly literacy is better amongst children with parents of the very highest levels of education in the more equal countries of Finland and Belgium than in the UK. (Spirit Level, Chapter 13)

A more equal society is better for all of us – including the wealthy. Now all we need is to elect Greens so we can become a more equal society.

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